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Cpt. No Scout
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Nrs specs below

Nominal size 1 1/4" Schedule 40, 6061-T6 anodized aluminum pipe
Outside diameter = 1 5/8"
Inside diameter = 1 3/8"
Wall thickness = 1/8"
Weight = .786 lbs/FT

With that out there. I use 1" std steel for all my frames. I just like steel. But rememeber to keep all your welds smooth to reduce frame rub on your boat.
 

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Nrs specs below

Nominal size 1 1/4" Schedule 40, 6061-T6 anodized aluminum pipe
Outside diameter = 1 5/8"
Inside diameter = 1 3/8"
Wall thickness = 1/8"
Weight = .786 lbs/FT

With that out there. I use 1" std steel for all my frames. I just like steel. But rememeber to keep all your welds smooth to reduce frame rub on your boat.

The pipe he is talking about is actually 1.66 O.D and be would be very heavy with a .125 wall
Pipe is not measured fractionally like tubing is on the O.D
So there is no 1 5/8 aluminum pipe.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
idahofloater, why steel? I know its stronger, but its heavy. Cost? I have a steel frame right now and thought about modding it to my needs, but man is it heavy. I saw the aluminum frames and suddenly had frame envy.

Looks like the Down River ones are 1 1/2 Schedule 40.
 

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there are a whole bunch of engineers here while they may all be right on different levels, but if you go into a raft store and say you want 1.66 OD .125 wall schedule 40 6061 T6, there may be some funny looks.

Basically there are two sizes of Aluminum raft frame tubes - small and big. NRS/AAA/Star use small tubes, DRE/Riverboat Works/Clavey use big tubes. If you want to walk into a raft place, the small tube (and the fittings and accessories that go with it) is called 1 1/4" and the big stuff is called 1 1/2". you will probably never be able to measure the tube and find a 1 1/4" measurement anywhere but that is what it is called.

unless you are a nut, all of them are plenty strong.

Keep it simple.
 

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Cpt. No Scout
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idahofloater, why steel? I know its stronger, but its heavy. Cost? I have a steel frame right now and thought about modding it to my needs, but man is it heavy. I saw the aluminum frames and suddenly had frame envy.

Looks like the Down River ones are 1 1/2 Schedule 40.
I totally get frame alum envy. I have it real bad. But, I am just too fawking stupid weld and bend aluminum. 1' is strong as hell and really the extra 15lbs of frame weight really isnt a factor on my raft. steel bends easy, welds easy, and screw ups are cheep. Also I Like to build frames all the time. for friends and stuff. I just can't stop myself. So, cheep steel works for me.
 

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I totally get frame alum envy. I have it real bad. But, I am just too fawking stupid weld and bend aluminum. 1' is strong as hell and really the extra 15lbs of frame weight really isnt a factor on my raft. steel bends easy, welds easy, and screw ups are cheep. Also I Like to build frames all the time. for friends and stuff. I just can't stop myself. So, cheep steel works for me.
any pics of your work? I always wanted to learn how to weld.
 

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there are a whole bunch of engineers here while they may all be right on different levels, but if you go into a raft store and say you want 1.66 OD .125 wall schedule 40 6061 T6, there may be some funny looks.
... but if you walk into a metals dealer like White City Metals in Oregon, they will know exactly what you are looking for. :D
 

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... but if you walk into a metals dealer like White City Metals in Oregon, they will know exactly what you are looking for. :D
That is true!

I always wondered why people order frames through NRS, where I bought my boat they build custom frames all day long. If you want a pile of pipes with fittings they would be glad to slap that together and save everyone a ton of money.

I am sure they could rig it up in a couple of hours , they are basically a handrail system and dont take any real skill to build. probably save a few hundred dollars over NRS prices for the same thing.
 

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That is true!

I always wondered why people order frames through NRS, where I bought my boat they build custom frames all day long. If you want a pile of pipes with fittings they would be glad to slap that together and save everyone a ton of money.

I am sure they could rig it up in a couple of hours , they are basically a handrail system and dont take any real skill to build. probably save a few hundred dollars over NRS prices for the same thing.
I think that NRS has a neater "system" in play than the assemble it yourself approach, which involves 10' sticks of aluminum and a pile of knuckles. I enjoyed building mine from scratch with some quality guidance from a friend who had done it before, but I also see the point of just ordering a complete kit that is pre cut. I think I spent about $350 on my basic frame, another $150 for custom built tables and later another $150 adding diamond plate side decks and through-bolts.
 

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I think that NRS has a neater "system" in play than the assemble it yourself approach, which involves 10' sticks of aluminum and a pile of knuckles. I enjoyed building mine from scratch with some quality guidance from a friend who had done it before, but I also see the point of just ordering a complete kit that is pre cut. I think I spent about $350 on my basic frame, another $150 for custom built tables and later another $150 adding diamond plate side decks and through-bolts.

Have you been in bax lately? I noticed they have a frame builder now who is chopping up nrs parts and building hybrid welded frames. They were kinda strange looking half NRS half welded
 

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Have you been in bax lately? I noticed they have a frame builder now who is chopping up nrs parts and building hybrid welded frames. They were kinda strange looking half NRS half welded
I was looking at them a few weeks ago. I went with an NRS Compact Outfitter with an extra crossbar to make it a four bay. I just can't get away from erector set frames, they are too much fun to play with. I think I am going to have A&B build me a crossbar with the foot bar attached though.
 

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I just can't get away from erector set frames, they are too much fun to play with. I think I am going to have A&B build me a crossbar with the foot bar attached though.
I'm afraid I'm afflicted with the "tinkering" disease as well. Every season I add or subtract something, or move something around. So the NRS frame works for me. I had AAA make me a crossbar/footbar combo last summer and I really like it. I always thought the NRS footbar was kind of a waste of space. You'll like having a crossbar that does double duty.

I found that having an aluminum Cataraft frame really didn't lessen my overall frame weight by as much as I thought it would over my old modular steel frame. But having all those lighter weight frame pieces for fly-in trips and winter storage in my garage is a huge plus.
KJ
 

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That is true!

I always wondered why people order frames through NRS, where I bought my boat they build custom frames all day long. If you want a pile of pipes with fittings they would be glad to slap that together and save everyone a ton of money.

I am sure they could rig it up in a couple of hours , they are basically a handrail system and dont take any real skill to build. probably save a few hundred dollars over NRS prices for the same thing.
The benefit is the adjustability and the multiple uses out of one frame. I can have a top notch fishing frame and switch to a great multi day rig. The Speedrail frames are handrails joints, NRS isn't. for cats, NRS frames might be a little clunky, but for rafts, I think they are fine.

There really is nothing special about welded steel frames. I fact I would bet that most of us started with one. I had a cambridge frame. nice for me, but sucked when anyone wanted to row the boat who had different measurements. and it sucked for fishing, and I always had to have a cooler or dry box to sit on and that box or cooler con only ever be one size. welded steel is old technology frankly its the oldest. If you like them , lucky for you, because you can get them really cheap because no one wants them.
 

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I was looking at them a few weeks ago. I went with an NRS Compact Outfitter with an extra crossbar to make it a four bay. I just can't get away from erector set frames, they are too much fun to play with. I think I am going to have A&B build me a crossbar with the foot bar attached though.

Just call AAA in denver. that is a stock part they carry I believe it is $85 with fittings. Both my rafts have NRS frames with a AAA kickbar. that way you don't need a cross bar and a kick bar to have a drop bag, or hold a cooler.

*edit- oops just saw KJ said the same thing. great minds think alike.
 

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Over the years I've had some luck finding 6061 tubing at metal scrapyards, some of whom will save long pieces and sell them by the foot, instead of cutting em' up for scrap. Saves big. Sometimes it isn't anodized, so you get the oxidation/black chaffing over time, but that's not the end of the world. I have found anodized too. Also get angle iron, etc., for various things. Even found some aluminum diamond plate.
 

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The benefit is the adjustability and the multiple uses out of one frame. I can have a top notch fishing frame and switch to a great multi day rig. The Speedrail frames are handrails joints, NRS isn't. for cats, NRS frames might be a little clunky, but for rafts, I think they are fine.

There really is nothing special about welded steel frames. I fact I would bet that most of us started with one. I had a cambridge frame. nice for me, but sucked when anyone wanted to row the boat who had different measurements. and it sucked for fishing, and I always had to have a cooler or dry box to sit on and that box or cooler con only ever be one size. welded steel is old technology frankly its the oldest. If you like them , lucky for you, because you can get them really cheap because no one wants them.
I wouldn't know about steel, I have never owned a steel frame always welded aluminum.
all I am saying is a frame builder who works with and welds aluminum could definitely build a handrail frame. And most likely cheaper than anyone else.
 

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Fair enough, but most of the aluminum fitting frames builders do weld and bend their frames. they will happily weld an entire frame for you but then you can't adjust it, and can't break it down. all the DRE or AAA frames are bended corners, and plenty of welded parts. they just allow you to adjust the frame components as well, so you have options. I assure you any of these manufacturers can weld the same frame without fittings for much less money and weight, but no one wants that so they don't do it.

If you never change anything about your rig, then maybe welded is the way to go for you. all frames have drawbacks and advantages, for me, and those who use "erector set" frames, the benefits of modular frames are worth whatever additional cost and weight are associated with them.

Do you really think that all the folks with DRE, Riverboat works, Clavey, AAA, NRS, Star, Rowframe etc. frames (90% of all boaters) only have them because they haven't been enlightened to the fact that you can weld a frame?

Cat frames are also a different breed altogether. they are the only structural part of the boat. raft frames are just to attach you, your shit, and your oars to the boat.
 

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Fair enough, but most of the aluminum fitting frames builders do weld and bend their frames. they will happily weld an entire frame for you but then you can't adjust it, and can't break it down. all the DRE or AAA frames are bended corners, and plenty of welded parts. they just allow you to adjust the frame components as well, so you have options. I assure you any of these manufacturers can weld the same frame without fittings for much less money and weight, but no one wants that so they don't do it.

If you never change anything about your rig, then maybe welded is the way to go for you. all frames have drawbacks and advantages, for me, and those who use "erector set" frames, the benefits of modular frames are worth whatever additional cost and weight are associated with them.

Do you really think that all the folks with DRE, Riverboat works, Clavey, AAA, NRS, Star, Rowframe etc. frames (90% of all boaters) only have them because they haven't been enlightened to the fact that you can weld a frame?

Cat frames are also a different breed altogether. they are the only structural part of the boat. raft frames are just to attach you, your shit, and your oars to the boat.

You bring up an interesting point, We have often sat on the river bank wondering why there are no real custom frames that come out of your area, if someone is on the river with an erector set frame we immediately know they are out of towners.

You just don't see them around here, there are old welded aluminum whitewater frames laying in the fields around here from the late 70's.

Of course this is welded jet boat and drift boat country also so every place around here it is kind of second nature, tons of fab shops and aluminum welders.

Nothing wrong with them if thats what you want I just couldn't personally take the heckling from my friends and own one :p I have really never heard anyone want to change their boat around, they just make it the way they want and run it. I know they talk about Idaho style with the forward rowers position and no one cares for that either. Just where you live I guess.
 

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I love my erector set frame, I have a new one on the way... I would not have been able to afford boating has I started with a fixed frame. The cost of entry was high enough and I wanted the flexibility to upgrade coolers and from a truck box to a dry box when I saved the $$$ without having to upgrade my frame at the same time.

I am jealous of a friend's steel cat frame though. It is made of three pieces, rowing compartment, front deck and back storage. She does not have a trailer so she brakes down her boat, nests the frame together and it fits in the back of her minivan, tubs and all. Erector set frames can't do that.
 
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